Social Aspects In Andrea Hirata’S Novel Sirkus Pohon


The purpose of the study is to analyze the social aspects in SirkusPohon, Andrea Hirata’s novel. This study uses sociologyapproach of literature where this study describes an understanding of literary works by considering its social. The social aspects studied herecover social structure, culture, social institutions, and social stratification. This study was conducted by using library research and data analysis. The results of the analysis of the social aspects in the novel show that based on the social structure, in Belitung community, especially in Ketumbi village, there is a dominant social group, namely indigenous people/Malays, and there are also immigrant communities who come from Lampung and some cities in East Java, who inhabited the island. The culture found in the society includes the customs of Belitung Malay girls,the custom of naming, dubbing someone, custom of application and marriage. Moreover, it also contained social institutions such as family, education, political, legal, health, cultural and religious institutions. Social stratification can also be found in Belitung community, namely the stratification of the upper, middle and lower classes.

Keywords: Social aspectssocial structureculturesocial institutionsocial stratification


Social action is dealing with social problems. The social problems arise as a result of the relationships with other human beings. This social problem is different between communities because of the culturedifferences.

Genresuch as novelisthe representations of social phenomenon which is reappointed as a new discourse through the creative process of the author in the form of literary works. The position of the novel is the same as other sciences isimportant for the progress of the society. This paper explains the social aspects in Sirkus Pohon include social structure, culture, social institutions, and social stratification. Social structure is a reciprocal relationship between social positions and roles (Soekanto, 2005).

The notion of culture is something that are used as human property by learning that covers the whole system of ideas, actions, and human works in the framework of people's lives. Culture is the result of human material and spiritual abilities in the form of objects, knowledge, and rules of belief, morality, politeness, law, and beauty.

Social institutions are a set of norms from various levels that revolve around a basic need in people's lives. Commonly,social institution consists of a group of people who have come together for a common purpose. These institutions are a part of the social order of society and they govern behaviour and expectations of individuals.

Social stratification is the differentiation of population or society into classes in stages or hierarchically (Sorokin, as cited in Soekanto, 2005). It means that social stratification can categorize the society based on the classes. It can be based on some sectors such as profession, education, income.

Sunarto (1993) explains that a number of social scientists distinguish social classes into three classes,namely:

  • The upper class, this class is characterized by the amount of wealth, good influence in the sectors of individual or public society, high income, high education level, and stability of family life.

  • Middle class, this class is characterized by a high level of education, income and has a high appreciation for hard work, education, saving needs and future planning, and they are involved in community activities.

  • The lower class, this class usually consists of unskilled workers, their income is relatively lower so that they are unable to save, trying to fulfill the immediate needs rather than future needs, have low education, and the recipients of welfare funds from the government.

Problem Statement

This study is focussed on social aspects occur in Ketumbi village,Belitung islandin the novel. There are several social aspects can be analysed in the novel. Therefore, this study is designed to answer some problems which deals with social aspects in the novel, such as social structure, culture, social institutions, and social stratification.

Research Questions

Does social aspects found in the novel?

What are the basic elements of social aspects found in the novel?

Purpose of the Study

The purposes of this study are as follows:

  • to describe the social life found in the novel which covers the social aspects in Belitung Island.

  • to give more understanding about the term of social structure, culture, social institutions and the social stratification which found in the novel.

  • to describe about the social life of the people in Ketumbi village, Belitung Island.

Research Methods

This study uses the literary sociology approach (Ratna, as cited in Endraswara, 2011). The literary work of the novel Sirkus Pohon as a reflection of the state of society and also to know about the social aspects that exist in the society. This study uses library research techniques and data analysis. The primary data from this study is the novel Sirkus Pohon by Hirata (2017) which describes the people in Belitung. The author provides a reflection about the social life of people in Belitung Island. While, the secondary data are literary books related to the object of research. The data that has been analyzed descriptively using sociological theory.


The researchers analyse social aspects in Hirata's (2017) novel Sirkus Pohon , namely social structure, culture, social institutions, and social stratification.

Social Structure

Indigenous people (Malay Society)

The indigenous people (Malay communities) who inhabit the island of Belitung consist of Malays who are the majority community groups who live in Belitung Island.

Aih, his village name is Ketumbi, an ancient Malay word which means 'missed the last', 'the backmost'. In the past, Malay people who were smart in their minds might have been able to see the fate of our village in accordance with the fold of fate. (Hirata, 2017, p. 204)

From the quotation above, it can be seen that the naming of the village name 'Ketumbi ’comes from the ancient Malay language which indicates that the native inhabitants of the village were Malay people.

Migrant Communities

Migrant communities in Sirkus Pohon are the circusplayersfrom various places in East Java such as Blitar, Jombang, Mjokerto, TulungAgung and Cirebon, and Lampung.

The young people came from a small town in East Java. It is said that several cities there such as Blitar, Jombang, Mojokerto, TulungAgung, maybe Jember and Banyuwangi still have demon vat riders. (Hirata, 2017, p. 76)

From the the quotations above, it can be seen that some circus players went around Blasia, come from outside of Ketumbi village, Tanjung Lantai, Pulau Belitung. As immigrants, they interacted well with the local community.


Customary dressing habits of Belitung Malay women Andrea Hirata describes the customof dressinghabits of Malay women in Belitung islikesprinklingpandan leaves and sweet flowers on clothes that are being ironed.

On a regular occasion, Malay women soak pandan leaves to sprinkle on clothes when ironed with charcoal iron. As for cananga flowers, they are available for extraordinary events, such as marriage ceremonies . (Hirata, 2017, p. 21)

From the quotation above, it can be seen that Malay women in Belitung Island use their daily water baths as clothes deodorizers which are ironic and use water baths of cananga flowers as clothes fragrances used for special occasions such as weddings. In the above quotation, Tara and her mother used clothes that smelled of cananga flowers for a divorce event at a religious court.

Malay girls in Ketumbi village also have a habit that has become a culture for their people that they like to do handicrafts that require skills as quoted below.

Other Malay girls like to sew, embroider, make snacks, make flowers, braid, slash tambourines, take a ten finger typing course, but Dinda likes pomegranates . (Hirata, 2017, p. 43)

The habits of the girls in Belitung are learning to sew, embroidering, making snacks, making flowers, braiding, tapping tambourines and taking part in learning typing courses. The word 'like' in the sentence illustrates that activities such as sewing, embroidering, making snacks, making flowers, braiding, tapping tambourines, taking typing courses, are activities that they have been doing for generations.

Customary name-sowing habits for boys

Naminga child is very important for the Malays in Belitung Island because it relates to their identity.

My own full name is really fantastic: Sobrinudin bin Sobirinudin. So, clearly, you can know that Sobirinudin is my father. "Din", is always proud to be attached to our name of Malays as a glory that signifies us Muslims. I’m called Sobri. (Hirata, 2017, p. 23)

The sentence above illustrates that Malays, especially the parents, gave their children names with names that are almost the same as their names, for example Pak Sobrinudin gave his son's name: Sobirinudin. Attaching the word 'din' behind their son's name is believed to be glory and which indicates that they are Muslim.

The habit of calling someone

In addition to bragging and dancing habits, Malays in the interior of Belitung also have a unique habit, namely dubbing someone with bad names. Malays are very associative and metaphoric, full of symbols and parables. It is reflected in their hobbies of singing and dubbing. People, even though Islam clearly prohibits bad calls. These strange titles are generally intended to insult.

I myself, if I am annoyed, call him the "Door Handles" because he is big like a door and lazy. He only moves when moved, so the nickname "Door Handle" is quite representative for him. As for him, if I'm annoyed, call me "Wardrobe". If he is annoyed again and there is a father near him, he calls me "Bang a Wardrobe". (Hirata, 2017, p. 23)

“Call-calling” is an activity carried out by humans as social beings. Giving nicknames or low-pitched calls is often with jokes. There are also those who do it as a form of closeness. This eventually becomes a habit. This is what happens in Ketumbi village, Belitung. Andrea Hirata describes the activity of giving this nickname as a joke and a form of familiarity.

Customary applications and marriage

Malay communities in Belitung Island have marriage consent customs.

The following week my family visited Dinda's family with very large round cakes. So I asked for permission to marry Malay people. (Hirata, 2017, p. 109)

The Malay community in Belitung appoint a male representative in family to proposebride to be. By bringing the cake, it can be regarded as a sign that those who come will propose to the girl in the house.

On that quiet Sunday afternoon, I married Dinda. I dressed in Malay completely just like when I applied for her. She was dressed in Malay Muslim women all in green. The colors were moss green, the hijab was green leaves . (Hirata, 2017, pp. 315-316)

Andrea Hirata in Sirkus Pohon’ novel describes the Sobri’s character. He has expressed his heart to Dinda and Dinda has accepted it. Then Sobri asked his father and younger sister, Azizah to propose the wedding day.

Social Institution

Family institution

Family institutions are the smallest institutions in society, generally consisting of father, mother and child. In a family, relationships between family members are arranged so that respective roles and functions must be owned by each family member. The formation of a family comes from a marriage that is legal according to religion, customs, and government. Family institutions have several functions, including reproductive function, protection, economy, socialization, affection, social supervision, and determining status. In SirkusPohon novel, family institutions are Suruhudin-Azizah family and Dinda family, Sobri's father's family, Mother's family Tegar and Mrs. Tara's family.Sobri is a character who will form a new family in his marriage with Dinda.

Father himself always worked. Since childhood Daddy has been panning for tin. My father had been a porter in the harbor, filling a sand truck, coconut tree loggers who threatened homes, and diggers. After having lost strength, Father worked odd jobs on the market and now bears board cash selling soft drinks at the Belantik stadium. But my father is happy because all of his children graduated from high school, except me. (Hirata, 2017, p.37)

The above quote describes the character of Sobri’s father who acts as the head of the family. The role of the father as the head of the family who is always actively seeking a living, from the results of his sweat, whatever the type of work, becomes a sample for his children.

Educational institutions

In the Sikdiknaslaw number 20 of 2003, it was explained that Indonesia had three educational channels, namely formal, non-formal and informal. Sagala in Nofijantie (2014) stated that formal education is an institution called school which is part of a tiered and continuous education.

Tegar went up to 3rd grade in junior high school, then graduated, then continued to high school. During the 1SMA class, he was determined to enter the August 17 flag raiser forces at the district level. (Hirata, 2017, p. 103)

The above quotation explains that Tegar pursued a tiered and continuous path of formal education, going up to grade 3 in junior high school, then proceeding to grade 1 high school. In Sirkus Pohon , the character of Tegarisa figure who is still in the school age. Besides Tegar, there is also another character, Tara, who isalso still at school age and educated in formal education.

Political Institutions

The quotation below is a political activity in the election of village heads in Ketumbi village.

Campaign!Rousing!Candidates for village heads who had been stingy for mercy suddenly were generous. The campaign period was a race for charity. Suddenly the village was hit by various plagues. (Hirata, 2017, p. 260)

Pilkades is an instrument in the formation of a modern and democratic government. In his novel, Sirkus Pohon , Andre Hirata describes pilkades activities that are not good. The 'charity race season' in the quotation above is another word for the practice of money politics.

Legal Institutions

In the novel, SirkusPohon ,law enforcement is carried out by the police. Thisoccurs when Sobri accidentally destroys campaign material namely poster.

The car tire squeaked, suddenly two young policemen were standing in front of me. One of them asked me, but I didn't hear because my ears were overpowered by his own heartbeat . (Hirata, 2017, p. 270)

The above quotation occurred when Sobri, who was blind to the law, damaged the campaign poster from a political party. The poster was affixed to the pomegranate tree in Sobri’s house yard without his permission. Eventually law enforcement officials took a peaceful path or reconciled the two sides.

Health Institutions

Health institutions in the novel Sirkus Pohon are Puskesmas. Public health services are the only health institution in Ketumbi village.

None of their nose.Taripol wasthe one who took meto the puskesmas. With hissincere friendship, he was the one whotreatedthe deep emotional wounds that I had experienced because of the bell-necked obscene cow. (Hirata, 2017, p. 18)

From the quote above, the community uses health institutions in the form of health centers to provide assistance in the health sector.

Cultural institutions

Cultural institutions are public institutions that play a rolein thedevelopment of culture, science, art, and education. Cultural parks are the place for art performers to practice or display their artwork. In the novel, Sirkus Pohon, it is existing cultural parks as the cultural institutions.

Managers of cultural parks who often offer Tara to exhibit singularly welcome Tara's plan. Immediately announced the exhibition schedule on radio and local newspapers in the "Art and Culture" column.Tegar found the announcement when he flipped through a newspaper to find a job. Called in the column there will be two painting exhibitions . (Hirata, 2017, p. 164)

Tara uses a cultural park to prepare for her first solo exhibition. He opened the face paintings from a large picture book, and then framed them.

Religious institutions

In the novel, Sirkuds Pohon , written by Andrea Hirata, Tara and Tegar'sparents come to the religious court to settle the divorce.

Farewell took place peacefully, smoothly, and painfully. Tegar's mother cried heartily. Tonight harbored a feeling. Panitera nodded respectfully, witnesses shook hands, His Honor knocked on the hammer, the household closed the book. (Hirata, 2017, p. 29)

Thus, from the description above, the social institutions can be found in the novel Sirkus Pohon by Andrea Hirata.It is presented with interesting stories.

Social Stratification

Upper class

In the SirkusPohon novel by Andrea Hirata, classified as upper class is Adjunct Inspector SyaifulBuchori, the local police chief, who tries arrange police and busy people to look for Dinda's whereabouts.

I asked permission from Ms.Bos and went straight to Ketumbi on a motorcycle with Dinda's uncle. Arriving at Dinda's house, crowded people gathered. There was also Adjunct Inspector SyaifulBuchori and two young police officers. My heart is pounding . (Hirata, 2017, p. 123)

Other professions in the upper class are the paramedics and doctors who examine the condition of Dinda's health found after more than 24 hours have disappeared.

Mantri was brought in and quickly concluded that Dinda was healthy. Blood pressures, heart rate, temperature, breathe were all normal. There was no flu, fever, dizziness, indigestion, or strange lumps in the stomach, chest, or neck. Injury marks that cause concussion or trauma. The doctor who was brought in from TanjongLantai had the same conclusion as the mantri . (Hirata, 2017, p. 126)

Furthermore, the profession in the upper class is a dukun. In the novel SirkusPohon, the services of a dukun are also mobilized after there are no results obtained from medical treatment to doctors and doctors, to treat Dinda's memory loss.

Finally, he was summoned by a dukun from Menguang Island who was said to be the most powerful of all dukun.DukunDaud his name.Dukun could not be arbitrarily summoned. He only wanted to treat people who fit him . (Hirata, 2017, p. 127)

Middle class

The middle class can be called the most stable layer in the community, including the clerics, clusters of employees, and traders. They are belong to the middle class in the SirkusPohon novel by Andrea Hirata asSobri's three brothers,

My oldest brother is a smart person. He is well-respected in the Department of Engineering School Mine PN Timah and is respected in his work. He served in the PN Timah exploration office. Rank? I don't know, but it's not easy to be employed at the mining frontline unit. My second brother is the quiet man of the surveyor, also in the PN. He spoke a little, always wanted to be seen as a brother. He often got training in Java. The third brother, an employee of the Syahbandar office, he has been appointed as a civil servant . (Hirata, 2017, p. 7)

Lower class

This layer consists of the laboures. In the SirkusPohon novel by Andrea Hirata, this is included in the lower class which is a father.

Father always works. Since childhood, myfather has been panning for tin. My father had been a porter in the harbor, filling a sand truck, coconut tree loggers... (Hirata, 2017, p. 37)

Sobri, the main character, who only graduated from elementary school, in the SirkusPohonnovel also belonged to the lower class because after graduating he becomes circus clown.

I returned to my original profession before working in a circuit, namely odd jobs... However, in my heart I never missed the dream of becoming a circus clown. I hope the circus will be reopened. One hope is completely empty . (Hirata, 2017, p. 300)


Belitung community in Ketumbi village consisted of Malays and migrant communities who come from East Java such as Blitar, Mojokerto, TulungAgung, Jember, Banyuwangi, and Lampung. Social institutions as mentioned in Sirkus Pohon novel are family, education, politics, law, health, culture, and religioninstitutions. The Belitung community is classified into three class groups, they are: upper, middle and lower class groups. Upper class stratification is a group of officials and professional groups such as police, doctors, and bosses while the middle class includes religious groups, clerks, and traders. The peasants are the Lower class.


Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

30 March 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Business, innovation, sustainability, development studies

Cite this article as:

Hariani, S., Asnani, A., Pardi, P., & Wulan, S. (2020). Social Aspects In Andrea Hirata’S Novel Sirkus Pohon. In N. Baba Rahim (Ed.), Multidisciplinary Research as Agent of Change for Industrial Revolution 4.0, vol 81. (pp. 528-536). European Publisher.